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Higher Ed in the News

Why do so many Americans drop out of college?

June 19, 2009

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday announced more than $6.4 million in grants to national policy organizations for efforts to identify why so many young Americans drop out of college.

Despite the tangible economic incentives to finish college, completion rates in America have been flat since the 1970s.

Until recently, reform efforts and national policies have focused on increasing access to higher education for more students, particularly among low-income and minority populations. But access means little if students never earn the credential that will open the door to high-paying jobs and a better life, according to the Gates Foundation.

The grants include:

  • $1.25 million for the American Enterprise Institute
  • $800,000 for the Center for American Progress
  • $1.5 million for the Center for Law and Social Policy
  • $675,000 for the College Board
  • $600,000 for Excelencia in Education
  • $1.58 million for the Institute for Higher Education Policy

Initiatives that will be funded through the grants focus on developing policy proposals, collecting usable data, and promoting innovation on an institutional level.

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